Frito Pie Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
Crunchy, salty Fritos corn chips are the star ingredient of Frito pie. Make this cheesy Tex-Mex favorite for dinner or game day.

Updated: Mar. 27, 2024

Frito pie is a Tex-Mex classic that doubles as one of the best comfort foods ever. This casserole is inspired by the original Frito pie recipe that’s also known as a walking taco: Chili, cheese and other toppings ladled into a split-open bag of Fritos. Our recipe delivers those flavors in casserole form, with a thick layer of crunchy Fritos corn chips, ground beef, spiced beans and lots of melted cheese.

Whip up a Frito pie casserole to treat everyone for dinner or the next big game day.

Where did Frito pie originate?

Like with many classic dishes, the origins of Frito pie are disputed. New Mexico lays claim to its invention, saying the dish was created by Woolworth’s department store employee Teresa Hernandez in the 1960s. However, Texans say the Frito pie recipe was invented in their state a decade or two earlier, crediting Daisy Doolin, mother of Fritos inventor Charles Elmer Doolin, with the recipe. Others credit Katherine Doolin, Charles’ wife.

No matter who came up with the recipe, the most innovative part of the original Frito pie was that the bag served as the bowl—no plate necessary. However, since our recipe feeds more than one person, it’s served up in a 13×9-inch baking dish.

Ingredients in a Frito Pie

  • Fritos corn chips: It wouldn’t be a Frito pie without Fritos! The recipe uses a whole bag of Fritos corn chips. Most are layered at the bottom of the casserole, and the rest are scattered over the top. It wouldn’t hurt to have extra Fritos available, so you can add few more to each serving for extra crunch.
  • Ground beef: The meat is cooked on the stovetop with diced onion before being layered in the casserole. Drain off most of the grease from the beef well before adding it to the baking dish. For the least amount of excess grease, choose a lean ground sirloin. Here’s the best way to brown ground beef.
  • Ranch-style beans: These canned beans consist of pinto beans in a tomato-based savory sauce flavored with onions and spices. Another option is to make your own ranch-style beans to use in this recipe and other favorite Tex-Mex recipes.
  • Enchilada sauce: Picking up two cans of enchilada sauce during your next grocery run keeps this recipe as simple as possible, but you can also make homemade enchilada sauce if you’ve got extra time.


Step 1: Cook the beef and beans

Cook beef and onion in a large skillet using a spoonTMB Studio

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cook the beef and onion in a large skillet over medium heat, for six to eight minutes or until it is no longer pink, using a spoon to break up the meat. Drain any excess grease.

Stir the ranch-style beans into the pan with beef and heat throughlyTMB Studio

Stir the ranch-style beans into the beef and heat through.

Step 2: Assemble the casserole

Spoon the meat and bean mixture over the top of the chips completely in the baking dishTMB Studio

Set aside one cup of the Fritos. Spread the rest of the chips in an even layer at the bottom of the greased baking dish. Spoon the meat and bean mixture over the top of the chips, spreading to fill the pan completely. Pour the enchilada sauce over the top. Add a layer of shredded cheese.

Sprinkle the reserved Fritos over the topTMB Studio

Finally, sprinkle the reserved Fritos over the top.

Step 3: Bake

Frito Pie served with diced green onions and coke in serving dishTMB Studio

Slide the uncovered Frito pie into the oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle diced green onions over the top before serving.

Frito Pie Variations

  • Add more Tex-Mex ingredients: It’s easy to layer even more flavor into this casserole. We suggest diced green chilies, sliced jalapenos, Mexi-corn, sliced black olives or Ro-Tel tomatoes with chiles.
  • Try it with chili: Instead of ranch-style beans, use your favorite canned or homemade chili recipe in this step. Spicy or mild, with beans or without—chili will amake this casserole even more irresistible!
  • Make it “flamin’ hot”: If you love your Tex-Mex food extra spicy, try making Frito pie casserole with Flamin’ Hot Fritos instead.

Can you make Frito pie ahead of time?

It’s best to assemble and bake Frito pie right before you want to eat, simply because if it’s made too far in advance the Fritos will get soggy. However, one time-saving step you can take is to brown the ground beef and onions ahead of time. Store them in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble and bake the Frito pie.

Frito Pie Tips

Delicious Frito Pie served with coke and green onions TMB Studio

What do you serve with Frito pie?

Serve portions of Frito pie with toppings like sour cream, guacamole or roasted tomato salsa.

For side dishes, try a fresh side salad with complementary toppings like black beans, tomatoes and cheddar cheese. Heartier choices include Spanish rice or corn and bean salad.

When setting up the snack table for a Super Bowl party or Cinco de Mayo celebration, Frito pie will also fit right in with other favorites like jalapeno poppers and quesadillas.

Can you use other types of meat to make Frito pie?

Try substituting ground turkey or ground chicken for the beef. Either will be just as delicious in this casserole. You can also make Frito pie with crumbles of your favorite plant-based meat brand, such as Boca or Beyond Beef. Soy-based tempeh can be used as well; crumble it into the pan to cook it with the chopped onion.

Watch how to Make Frito Pie

Frito Pie

Prep Time 30 min
Yield 6 servings.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) Ranch Style beans (pinto beans in seasoned tomato sauce)
  • 1 package (9-1/4 ounces) Frito corn chips
  • 2 cans (10 ounces each) enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Thinly sliced green onions, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until beef is no longer pink and onion is tender, crumbling meat; drain. Stir in beans; heat through.
  2. Reserve 1 cup corn chips for topping. Place remaining corn chips in a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Layer with meat mixture, enchilada sauce and cheese; top with reserved chips.
  3. Bake, uncovered, 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted. If desired, sprinkle with green onion.

Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 718 calories, 40g fat (14g saturated fat), 84mg cholesterol, 1719mg sodium, 53g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 8g fiber), 33g protein.